Having spent a good part of the last two weeks putting together my final project, I can hardly believe that I have completed it. It seemed like such a daunting task when I began, but I am thrilled that I have created an artifact for what I have learned in the Assessment in E-Learning course. Being able to connect the class curriculum with my own teaching has provided me with some amazing insight into what I do that is already working, and more importantly, what I would like to improve in my own classes. Over the course of the last couple weeks, I have engaged in some exciting research about assessment and composition courses. Peter Elbow, whom I came to know years ago while I was a grad student, speaks specifically about the most beneficial way to grade student writing. I have always admired his student-centered approach, and I know that I will be thinking about adding more low-stakes assignments with fewer surface-level comments and more global commentary for students. I see a strong connection between Elbow's ideas and the cybercoaching concept I discussed in last week's blog post. Being able to guide students through their writing makes the process so much less about the product and the grade, and so much more about what they are learning and applying to themselves as writers.
Another interesting find for me was Sanford Gold's research on online versus face-to-face instruction. I felt validated as I read that instructors found their online classes to be more engaged and interested in discussing class issues than the face-to-face students. Since this semester has been my first encounter with online teaching, I couldn't agree more with Gold. My online classes have contributed to discussion in such a way that exhibits their abilities to think critically about the readings and to engage with one another on a scholarly level.
Lastly, having to address various learning styles, as well as plagiarism, as part of the project, was a very helpful component for me. Although I have always had students work on the "writing process," which certainly helps to pull in different learning styles and diffuse the possibility of plagiarism, I would like to work even more on the portfolio concept, which allows students to explore their writing through various vehicles, as well as curbs students' considering plagiarism. As discussed by Elbow and Jian, Sandnes, Huang, Li, and Law, students oftentimes cheat because they are lost or feel overwhelmed by the material. By working through each step of an assignment, plagiarism is cut down in two ways: 1) The material the students are writing about is uniquely their own, and it would be difficult to find those ideas somewhere else, and 2) The feelings of anxiety are lessened tremendously when they are coached and working step-by-step.
Ultimately, the final project has brought many issues to my attention, and I look forward to implementing them in order to work toward more student engagement and success.
Elbow, P. (1997). Grading Student Writing: Making It Simpler, Fairer, Clearer. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, (69), 127-140. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
Gold, S. (2001). A Constructivist Approach to Online Training for Online Teachers. JALN, 5(1), 35-57. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
Jian, H., Sandnes, F., Huang, Y., Cai, L., & Law, K. (2008). On Students' Strategy-Preferences for Managing Difficult Course Work. IEEE Trans. Educ. IEEE Transactions on Education, 5(2), 157-165. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
Hi, my name is Lisa, and I am an English professor at a community college in Southern California. This blog is my way of tracking my progress in my Assessment in E-Learning course (EDUC 762) for the University of Wisconsin, Stout's E-Learning and Online Teaching Graduate Certificate program.